Monday, 12 July 2010

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Restoration Game - Ken MacLeod


There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know - she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organisers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy's mother Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the '30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin's terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family's past, the darker secrets of Krassnia's past - and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game ...


Definitely an interesting tale that brings to the fore a whole range of themes that some would perhaps wonder whether or not it would have been best to have left well alone. What occurs within is a tale of computer games, of dark dealings behind an old spy network and of course a slight blending of the unusual through the use of ancient tales. It is well written, it does have some cracking pieces of inventive prose as well as a decent pace, but some of the themes within don’t quite meld and I did feel that it went a little bit too far and would have benefited more had it not gone quite as far as it did. Still a reasonable read and whilst I don’t think its going to end up on the best of this years Science Fiction it is entertaining enough provided you don’t take it too seriously.

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